Discover Paris in 2018 | Readers' Advisory Crossroads

To read this guide is to travel to Paris. Sprinkled throughout are color photos, which capture everyday life and key tourist sites. The design allows readers to wander the city, with daily schedules based on individual arrondissements.
As Lewis Carroll’s Alice so aptly points out, “What is the use of a book…without pictures or conversations?” Welcome to Readers’ Advisory (RA) Crossroads, in which books, movies, music, and other media converge and whole-collection RA service goes where it may. In this column, the elegant, lacy, and vibrant City of Lights leads me down a winding path.

Begin:

Discover Paris 2018. Lonely Planet. (Travel Guide). 2017. 258p. photogs. ISBN 9781786578853. pap. $21.99. TRAV Travel guides might seem to run together in a sea of suggested hotels and visiting hours, but the Lonely Planet books stand apart with cost estimators, guidance for type of traveler (romantic, creative, epicurean), excellent itineraries highlighting specific locales, top experiences, and sturdy maps. To read this guide is to travel to Paris. Sprinkled throughout are color photos, which capture everyday life and key tourist sites. The design allows readers to wander the city, offering daily schedules based on individual arrondissements, which will help travelers explore the area they find themselves in or string together a series of well-choreographed days. Top-five lists round off the volume, focusing on all kinds of expeditions, from souvenir shopping to bar hopping.

Read-Alikes:

Michelin Green Guide Paris. 9th ed. Michelin. (Green Guide). 2015. 464p.ISBN 9782067203549. pap. $19.99; ebk. ISBN 9782067208551. Rick Steves Paris 2018 by Rick Steves & others. Hachette. 2017. 780p. ISBN 9781631216671. pap. $21.99; ebk. ISBN 9781631216879. TRAV While the Lonely Planet guides are wonderfully inviting, the Michelin Green Guide Paris and Rick Steves Paris 2018 are also great choices for transporting travelers into the city and offering planning advice on all Paris has to offer. The “Green Guide” series shines with excellent maps, providing historical and artistic detail, great overviews of specific areas, and splendid walks. A practical and hardy tome, full of all the necessary information and useful tips a tourist might want, Rick Steves Paris highlights include walking plans and "verbal maps," which orient the reader to the city's many pleasures. The suggested itineraries are also worth the price of admission.

Read-Arounds:

The Food Lover's Guide to Paris: The Best Restaurants, Bistros, Cafés, Markets, Bakeries, and More by Patricia Wells. 5th ed. Workman. 2014. 448p. ISBN 9780761173380. pap. $16.95; ebk ISBN 9780761181408. COOKING Louvre: Portrait of a Museum by Nicholas D'Archimbaud. Abrams. 2001. 336p. photogs. ISBN 9781556706257. Out of print but widely held. HIST Seven Ages of Paris by Alistair Horne. Vintage. 2004. ISBN 9781400034468. pap. $18; ebk. ISBN 9780804151696. HIST The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious—and Perplexing—City by David Lebovitz. Broadway. 2011. 256p. ISBN 9780767928892. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9780767932127. MEMOIR The market streets of Paris, its bread, chocolate, and pastry shops, all create the terroir of the City of Lights. Wells's indispensable guide takes readers through an endless litany of destinations to eat, drink, and buy food, as she wonderfully opines on how the Paris food scene works. D'Archimbaud's well-illustrated history does much the same for the Louvre. Of all the stellar museums in Paris, the Louvre is the hardest to get to know. Vast and somewhat difficult to navigate, it might overwhelm some visitors with its sprawling collections, and D'Archimbaud gets readers ready to dive into this iconic institution’s many treasures. For background reading that will have travelers in good stead when they hit the streets and become dizzy with the history all around them, suggest Horne's engaging and highly readable narrative as it flows from the city’s Roman origins to the 20th century. And for anyone caught in Paris's clutches, recommend one of the many expat stories, such as Lebovitz's fussy, funny, observant, and delightful Sweet Life in Paris.

Listen-Arounds:

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. Read by James Naughton. 4:37 hrs. S. & S. Audio. 2006. ISBN 9780743565141. $17.95. digital download. MEMOIR My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud'Homme. Read by Kimberly Farr. 11:17 hrs. Books on Tape. 2006. ISBN 9780739305119. $85.50. digital download. BIOG Paris exists in literature as much as it does in nonfiction. Hemingway's classic memoir of 1920s Paris portrays the city at one of its most glamorous peaks. Gossipy, pointed, and reflective, it takes readers through locales they can still visit today. Naughton does an excellent job of articulating Hemingway's tone and demeanor and reads with a heavy, grumbly voice. If anyone needs help falling in love with Paris, Child, who found her calling in the City of Lights and spent some of the best years of her life there, is the perfect guide. Narrator Farr’s absorbing pace does not try to mimic Child's distinct voice but rather transports listeners into her joyful memories.

Watch-Arounds:

Amélie. 123 min. Jean-Pierre Jeunet, dist. by UGC-Fox. 2011. DVD UPC 031398135203. $9.98. COMEDY Julie & Julia. 123 min. Nora Ephron, dist. by Columbia Pictures. 2009. DVD UPC. 043396292291. $9.99. AUTOBIOG/DRAMA Set in Paris, Amélie is a zany romantic comedy that follows the life of the titular Amélie Poulain (Audrey Tautou), who lives a quiet but wildly imaginative existence, working as a waitress and busying herself with the lives of others—changing fates, even as she redirects her own. The delights of the film are its oddball whimsy and especially lovely depiction of Paris. Watching Julia Child (Meryl Streep) fall in love with a beautifully rendered Paris is the best part of the winning culinary film Julie & Julia. Taking place both in 1950s Paris and a much more modern New York City, it follows Julia as she becomes a cook and discovers the city of her heart. It also follows cubicle worker Julie Powell (Amy Adams), a failed writer suffering a crisis of accomplishment. Julie changes her life when she decides to cook her way through Julia's most famous book.  

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